In 1969, master musician Dumi Maraire visited the University of Washington to lecture on the music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. He ended up staying and living in Seattle for twenty years because the people fell in love with his music and convinced him to stay.
Twelve years ago, Dan Pauli and David Schaldach began studying with Dumi and turned their lives towards the music he taught. They built marimbas, learned to yodel, and studied the traditional Shona genres and their prototypes. Eventually Pauli left to tour with Maraire's band and Schaldach went to San Francisco to continuing his mbira studies with Erica Kundidzora.
In 1997 they regrouped in Santa Fe with Greg Freeman, Ralph Klee and Robby Rothschild to form Jaka. In 1998, Jaka released their first CD and began touring in earnest with special events such as the Zimbabwean Music Festival in Victoria, BC and International Peace Prayer Day in New Mexico.
In 1999, Jaka added California to their touring schedule including shows with Babatunde Olatunji and Toots & the Maytals. The band was also voted "Best Band of Santa Fe" in a local competition. 2000 has kicked off with an opening set for Merl Saunders and the addition of Texas to the tour schedule.
Today Jaka is cutting new ground by fusing western vocal harmonies and funk rhythms with Shona music and using English lyrics to reflect their own lives and experiences. The band's new CD, featuring 6 original songs is being released in November.
Jaka includes: Dan Pauli who plays mbira, marimba, hosho and sings. He's been studying Zimbabwean music since 1986 and is Jaka's chief instrument builder and songwriter.
David Schaldach who plays mbira, marimba, drumset and sings with Jaka. A lifelong musician, David's been studying Zimbabwean music since 1987, in cluding a two month stay in Zimbabwe in 1994.
Greg Freeman plays marimba, guitar and hosho with Jaka. Greg started playing bagpipes at 8, competed nationally with a pipes and drums band and went on to study guitar and marimba.
Bones plays drum set, congas, steel drum and sings with Jaka. He has been a professional musician for 16 years, studying percussion and performing in Central America, Europe and the Caribbean, including Cuba, before joining Jaka.
Matt Wasowski plays marimba, guitar and sings with Jaka. A lifelong musician, Matt has recently returned from a 2 month study of music in Zimbabwe.